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Blues People

Blues People (Negro Music in White America) is a sem- The original text is divided into twelve sections, thus:
inal study of Afro-American music (and culture gener-
ally) by Amiri Baraka, who published it as LeRoi Jones
in 1963.[1] In Blues People Baraka explores the possi- 1.1 The Negro as Non-American: Some
bility that the history of black Americans can be traced Backgrounds
through the evolution of their music. It is considered a
classic work on jazz and blues music in American cul- Baraka opens his book by arguing that the Africans suf-
ture. This book documents the effects jazz and blues fered in America not only because they were slaves, but
had on America on an economic, musical, and social because American customs were completely foreign to
level. It chronicles the types of music dating back to the them. Baraka argues that slavery itself was not unnatural
slaves up until the 1960s. Blues People argues that “negro or alien to the African people as slavery had long before
music”—as Amiri Baraka calls it—appealed to and in- existed in the tribes of West Africa. Some forms of West
fluenced new America. According to Baraka, music and African slavery even resembled the plantation system that
melody is not the only way the gap between American was to be found in America. Baraka then discusses a brief
culture and African-American culture was bridged. Mu- history of slavery, inside and outside of the United States.
sic also helped spread values and customs through its me- He argues that unlike the slaves of Babylon, Israel, As-
dia exposure. Blues People demonstrates the influence of syria, Rome, and Greece, American slaves were not even
African Americans and their culture on American culture considered human.
and history. The book examines blues music as perfor-
mance, as cultural expression, even in the face of its com- Baraka then further addresses his previous assertion that
African slaves suffered in the New World because of
modification. To Baraka, Blues People represented “ev-
erything [he] had carried for years, what [he] had to say, the alien environment around them. For example, the
language and dialect of colonial English had no resem-
and [himself] extquotedbl. The book is deeply personal
and chronicles what brought him to believe that blues was blance to the African dialects. However the biggest dif-
ference, that set the African people aside, was the differ-
a personal history of his people in the United States. The
resonance and desperation within this type of music is ence in skin color. Even if the African slaves were freed,
what compelled Baraka to learn about the history of blues they would always remain apart, and be seen as ex-slaves
music. He learned through his studies that the “African- rather than as freed individuals. Colonial America was in
isms” is directly related to American culture, rather than essence, an alien land in which the African people could
being solely related to Black people. Baraka dedicates not assimilate due to the difference in culture and because
the book to my parents ... the first Negroes I ever met. they were seen as less than human.
The horrors of slavery can be broken down into the differ-
ent ways in which violence was done against African peo-
ple. In this section Baraka contends that one of the rea-
1 Content sons the Negro people had, and continue to have, a sor-
rowful experience in America is because of the violently
The 1999 reprint begins with a reminiscence by the au- different ideologies held by them and their captors. He
thor, then aged 65, titled extquotedblBlues People: Look- transitions from highlighting the economic intentions of
ing Both Ways”, in which he credits poet and English western religion and war to pointing out how the very op-
teacher Sterling Brown with having inspired both him and posite life views of the West African can be construed as
his contemporary A. B. Spellman. Baraka does not here primitive because of the high contrast. He addresses the
discuss the impact his book has had. violence done against the cultural attitudes of Africans


brought to this country to be enslaved. He references the They only learn stories and songs about Africa but lack
rationale used by western society to justify its position the experience. Baraka states, “the only way of life these
of intellectual supremacy. Western ideologies are often children knew was the accursed thing they had been born
formed around a heightened concept of self; it is based into” (13). He shows that slavery is the most influen-
on a belief that the ultimate happiness of mankind is the tial factor in African-American culture. He goes on to
sole purpose of the universe. These beliefs are in direct include the living conditions of slavery as an additional
opposition to those of the Africans originally brought to force. He refers to Herskovits’s ideas to explain the dilu-
this country, for whom the purpose of life was to appease tion of African culture in the United States specifically.
the Gods and live out a predetermined fate. In the Caribbean and the rest of the Americas there are
Baraka stresses a point made by Melville Herskovits, the much heavier traces of African culture in the slave pop-
anthropologist responsible for establishing African and ulation. Herskovits explains this as a result of the master
African-American studies in academia, which suggests to slave ratio in these areas. In the United States the mas-
that value is relative or that “reference determines value”. ter to slave ratio was much smaller than in other regions
Although Baraka is not justifying the white supremacist of the New World, and is reflected in its form of a slave
views of the West, he does create a space to better un- culture with constant association between the master and
derstand the belief that one can be more evolved than a slave.
people from whom one differs very much. Likewise the Baraka continues with a description of the effects of the
author does not name the African system of belief in su- “constant association” between African slaves and the
pernatural predetermination as better but speaks of how culture of their white masters. This, he states, was a phe-
an awful violence is done against these people ideologi- nomenon confined to the United States. Whereas in the
cally, by forcing them into a world that believes itself to Caribbean and South America the majority of white slave
be the sole judge of the ways in which proper existence owners had households wealthy enough to keep teams
must occur. of hundreds of slaves, the American south maintained
a class of “poor whites” who owned smaller groups of
forced workers. In these smaller estates slaves would of-
1.2 The Negro as Property ten be subjected to sexual abuse at the hand of their mas-
ters, as well as social cohabitation among small children
In chapter 2, “The Negro as Property”, Baraka focuses (however black and white children would not attend the
on the journey from the African to the African Ameri- same schools.) Baraka asserts that a result of this “inti-
can. He breaks down the process of the African’s accul- macy” was the alienation of African slaves from the roots
turation to show its complex form. Baraka begins with of their culture—tribal references (as well as the “intri-
the initial introduction to life in America. He compares cate political, social, and economic systems of the West
the African’s immigrant experience to that of the Ital- Africans”—including trades such as wood carving and
ian and Irish. He says the Italian and Irish came “from basket weaving) faded in the wake of American culture—
their ghetto existences into the promise and respectabil- relegated to the status as “artifact”. He argues that only
ity of this brave New World” (12). Africans on the other religious, magical, and artistic African practices (that do
hand, came to this new world against their will. There not result in “artifacts”) survived the cultural whitewash-
was no promise or respectability in America for them, ing, standing as the “most apparent legacies” of the roots
only force and abrupt change, and this defines the evolu- of African families made slaves.
tion of African-American culture.
After emancipation in 1863, the former slaves are be-
ing included in society. Baraka explains, these former 1.3 African Slaves / American Slaves:
slaves are no longer Africans. They are people of African Their Music
descent who have, for generations, adapted to American
culture. Their arrival and assimilation are most impor- Jazz is recognized as beginning around the turn of the last
tantly not by choice. After being forcefully brought to century, but is actually much older. Most people believe
America, the following generations are raised in a system that its existence derived from African slavery, but it has
that ostracizes any trace of African culture. Children are native African-American roots. Blues music gave birth to
immediately separated from their slave mothers at birth. Jazz, and both genres of music stem from the work songs
1.4 Afro-Christian Music and Religion 3

of the first generation of African slaves in America. American Negroes were not even allowed to practice or
As slave owners forbade their slaves to chant and sing talk about their own religion that their parents taught
their ritualistic music, in fear of a rebellion, the original them. Specifically, in the south, slaves were sometimes
African slaves were forced to change their work songs beaten or killed when they talked about conjuring up spir-
in the field. The lyrics of their songs changed as well, its or the devil. Negroes also held a high reverence to
as the original African work songs did not suit their op- the gods of their conquerors. Since their masters ruled
pressed situation. Jones states that the first generation of over their everyday lives, Negroes acknowledge that the
these slaves, the native Africans, truly knew the strug- conqueror’s gods must be more powerful than the gods
gle of being forced into submission and stripped of their they were taught to worship through discreet traditions.
religion, freedoms, and culture. The music that formed Christianity was also attractive to the Negroes, because
as a result became a combination of the original African it was a point of commonality between the white and
work songs and references to slave culture. Negroes in black men. Negroes were able to finally imitate some-
the New World transformed their language to be a mix thing valuable from their white slave owners. By accept-
of their own language and their European masters’, which ing Christianity, Negro men and women had to put away
included Negro-English, Negro-Spanish, Negro-French, a lot of their everyday superstitious traditions and beliefs
and Negro-Portuguese, all of which can be observed in in lucky charms, roots, herbs, and symbolism in dreams.
their songs. White captors or slave masters exposed Christianity to
the slaves because they saw Christianity as justification
Story-telling was the primary means of education within for slavery. Christianity gave the slaves a philosophical
the slave community, and folk tales were a popular and resolution of freedom. Instead of wishing to go back to
useful means of passing down wisdom, virtues, and so Africa, slaves were looking forward to their appointed
on from the elders to the youth. These folk tales also peaceful paradise when they meet their savior. Although
became integrated into their music and American culture, they had to endure the harshness of slavery, the joy of
and later began to appear in the lyrics of blues songs. living a peaceful life forever in eternity meant a lot more
Expression of oneself, emotions, and beliefs was the pur- for them. As a result of accepting Christianity, slave mas-
pose of the African work song. Instruments, dancing, ters were also happy that their slaves were now bound to
culture, religion, and emotion were blended together to live by a high moral code of living in order that they in-
form this representative form of music. Adaptation, in- herent the promise land. A lot of the early Christian Ne-
terpretation, and improvisation lay at the core of this gro church services greatly emphasized music. Call-and-
American Negro music. The nature of slavery dictated response songs were typically found in African services.
the way African culture could be adapted and evolved. Through singing of praise and worships songs in church,
For example, drums were forbidden by many slave own- Negroes were able to express pent up emotions. Also,
ers, for fear of its communicative ability to rally the spirits African church elders also banish singing of certain songs
of the enslaved, and lead to aggression or rebellion. As a they considered “secular” or “devil songs” (p. 48). They
result, slaves used other percussive objects to create sim- also banished the playing of violins and banjos. Churches
ilar beats and tones. also began sponsoring community activities such as bar-
becues, picnics, and concerts, which allowed the Ne-
As the music derived from their slave/field culture, shouts gro people to interact with each other. As time went
and hollers were incorporated into their work songs, and by, African churches were able to produce more liturgi-
were later represented through an instrumental imitation cal leaders such as apostles, ushers, and deacons. After
of blues and jazz music. From these origins, Jones de- the slaves were emancipated, the church community that
clares, “the notable fact is that the only so-called popu- was built by Negro leaders began to disintegrate because
lar music in this country of any real value is of African many began to enjoy the freedom outside of the church.
derivation.” As a result, some began listening again to the devil music
that was banned in the church and secular music became
more and more prevalent.
1.4 Afro-Christian Music and Religion

Christianity was adopted by the Negro people before

the efforts of missionaries and evangelists. The North

1.5 Slave and Post-Slave now had the leisure of being alone and thinking for them-
selves; however, the situation of self-reliance proposed
The “Slave and Post-Slave” section mainly addresses social and cultural problems that they never encountered
Baraka’s analysis of the cultural changes Negro Amer- as slaves. Both instances were reflected in their music, as
icans had to face through their liberation as slaves, and the subject music became more personal and touched on
how Blues developed and transformed through this pro- issues of wealth and hostility. The change among speech
cess. After years of being defined as property, the Ne- patterns, which began to resemble Americanized English,
gro had no place in the post-slave white society. They also created a development in Blues as words had to be
had to find their place both physically, as they looked for announced correctly and soundly. With Negro singers
somewhere to settle, but also psychologically as they re- no longer being tied to the field, they had an opportunity
constructed their self-identity and social structure. Their to interact with more instruments; primitive or country
freedom gave them a new sense of autonomy, but also blues was influenced by instruments, especially the guitar.
took away the structured order of life they had been ac- Jazz occurs from the appropriation of this instruments
customed to. Baraka believes the Civil War and the and their divergent use by Blacks, with elements like
Emancipation served to create a separate meta-society “riffs”, which gave it a unique Negro or Blues sound. In
among Negroes, separating the Negroes more effectively New Orleans Blues was influenced by European musical
from their masters with the institution of Jim Crow laws elements especially that of brass instruments and march-
and other social repressions. The Reconstruction period ing band music. Accordingly the uptown Negroes, differ-
brought about liberty for the American Negro and an aus- entiated from the “Creoles” –Blacks with French ancestry
tere separation from the white ex-slave owners and the and culture, usually of a higher class— gave a more prim-
white society that surrounded them. Organizations such itive, “jass” or “dirty” sound to this appropriated music;
as the KKK, Pale Faces, and Men of Justice emerged, which gave Blues and Jazz a distinct sound. A sound Cre-
seeking to frighten Negroes into abandoning their newly oles had to adapt to, once segregation placed them on the
found rights, and succeeding. The Negro leaders— or same level as all other freed black slaves. The fact that the
educated, professional or elite Negro Americas such as Negro could never become White was a strength, provid-
Booker T. Washington— and many of the laws that were ing a boundary between him and the white culture; cre-
made to still separate both races at time, divided the ating music that was referenced by African, sub-cultural,
blacks into different groups amongst themselves. There and hermetic resources.
were those who accepted the decree of “separate but
equal” as the best way for the Negro to live peacefully in
the white order and those who were separate from white 1.7 Classic Blues
society. After the initial period following the Eman-
cipation, songs that arose from the conditions of slav- Baraka starts the chapter with marking it as the time
ery created the idea of blues, including the sounds of period where classic blues and ragtime came to be big
“shouts, hollers, yells, spirituals, and ballits”, mixed with around. The change from Baraka’s idea of traditional
the appropriation and deconstruction of white musical el- blues to classic represented a new professional entertain-
ements. These musical traditions were carried along the ment stage for African-American art. Prior to classical
post-slavery Negro culture, but it had to adapt to their blues, traditional blues’ functionality required no explicit
new structure and way of life, forming the blues that we rules, and therefore a method didn't exist. Classic blues
recognize today. added a structure that was not there before. It started be-
coming popular with the change in minstrel shows and
circuses. Minstrel shows demonstrated recognition of
1.6 Primitive Blues and Primitive Jazz the “negro” as part of American popular culture, which
though it always had been it was never formally recog-
The “Primitive Blues and Primitive Jazz” section refers nized. It was now more formal. Minstrel shows, despite
to Baraka’s breakdown of the development of Blues— the overall slanderous nature towards African Americans,
and Jazz as an instrumental diversion— as Negro music were able to aid in the creation of this new form. It in-
through the Slave and especially Post-slave eras, into the cluded more instruments, vocals and dancing than the
music that we would consider blues today (its standard- previous blues tradition. Blues artist like Bessie Smith in
ized and popular form). After Emancipation Negroes “Put it Right Here or Keep It Out There” were presenting
1.9 Enter the Middle Class 5

an unspoken story to Americans who have not heard of cial black units. After World War I, there were many
or had ignored. He makes the distinction between blues, race riots in America and Negroes started to think of
which he ties to slavery, and ragtime, which he claims the inequality as objective and “evil”. Because of this,
to have more European musical ties. Amiri Baraka notes many groups were formed, like Marcus Garvey’s black
that this more classic blues created more instrumental op- nationalist organization, and also other groups that had
portunities for African Americans, but on the other hand already been around, like the NAACP became popular
instruments like the piano were the last to incorporate and again. Another type of blues music that came to the cities
had a much more free spirited melody than the other in- was called extquotedblboogie woogie extquotedbl, which
struments or compared to ragtime. Even with this new was a blend of vocal blues and early guitar techniques,
sounds and structure, some classic blues icons remained adapted for the piano and was also referred to as a mu-
out of the popular music scene. sic of rhythmic contrasts instead of melodic of harmonic
variations. On the weekends, hundreds of Negroes would
go to “blue light parties and there would be a few pianist
1.8 The City at each and they would take turns playing while people
would “grind”. In 1929, the depression left over 14 mil-
The “Negroes” were moving to the city from the south lion people unemployed and Negroes suffered most. This
for jobs and freedom; a chance to begin again. This, also ruined the blues era; most night clubs and cabarets closed
known as a “human movement”, made jazz and classi- and the recording industry was destroyed. There are three
cal blues possible. They worked the hardest and got paid events that were known to shape the present day Ameri-
the least. Ford played an important role with their tran- can Negro, which included, World War I, The Great De-
sition because they were one of the first companies to pression, and World War II. But let us not forget the fact
allow African Americans to work for them. They even of the Negroes moving to the cities because that is why
created the first car that was available for purchase for those three world events played such a meaningful role to
African Americans. Blues first began as a “functional” the Negroes.
music, only needed to communicate and encourage work
in the fields, but soon emerged into something more. The
blues music became entertaining. It was morphed into
1.9 Enter the Middle Class
what was called “the 'race' record”, which was recordings
of the music that were targeted towards African Ameri-
cans. Mamie Smith is the first African American to have “The movement, the growing feeling that developed
among Negroes, was led and fattened by the growing
made a commercial recording. It was supposed to be
Miss Tucker, but she was unable to attend because she black middle class”.[2]
was sick. After that, that “jazz age” began, or otherwise In chapter 9, Baraka’s focus is on the cause and effect of
known “age of recorded blues”. Pretty soon, African- the black middle class in the North. Negroes who held
American musicians began being signed with thousands positions, such as house servants, freedmen and church
of copies sold. Their music began to spread all over. They officials, were seen as having a more privileged status
even began hiring African Americans as talent scouts among Negroes of this time. These individuals embod-
to find the best new talent. To much surprise, African ied the bulk of the black middle class. Although Negroes
Americans became the new consumer in a predominately attempted to salvage their culture in the North, it was im-
white culture. Blues went from a small work sound to a possible to be free of the influence of “White America”,
nationwide phenomenon. Musicians in New York were furthermore drowning Negroes’ past. The black middle
very different from the ones in Chicago, St. Louis, Texas class both responded and reacted to this by believing their
and New Orleans, the music of performers of the east culture should be completely forgotten, trying to erase
had a ragtime style and wasn't original, but eventually their past and culture completely to be able to fit in. This,
the real blues was absorbed in the east. People were in turn, contributed to the growing support for cutting off
only really able to hear the blues and real jazz in the Southerners in order to have a life in America. This di-
gut-bucket cabarets, which basically means anything re- vided and separated Blacks, physically and mentally. All
ally down low, and lower class. World War I was a time in all, the black middle class’ attempt to fit into the Amer-
where the Negroes became mainstream in American life ica around them, caused them to conform their own Black
Negroes were welcomed into the services, in their spe- culture, to the white culture that surrounded them. Not

only did they attempt to change music, but media such gro from the rest of America. Nevertheless, the mu-
as paintings, drama and literature changed, as a result of sic the two made was as dissimilar as is possible within
this attempt to assimilate to the culture around them. jazz.”[3] He goes on to draw a distinction between what he
identifies as Beiderbecke’s “white jazz” and Armstrong’s
jazz, which he sees as being “securely within the tra-
ditions of Afro-American music. Moreover, Baraka’s
1.10 Swing—From Verb to Noun
broader critique of the place of Negro music in Amer-
ica is emphasized when he claims sarcastically, despite
In this chapter, Baraka illustrates the importance of Ne- Beiderbecke’s white jazz being essentially “Antithetical”
gro artist to be a “quality” black man instead of a mere to Armstrong’s, that “Afro-American music did not be-
“ordinary nigger”. Novelists such as Charles Chesnutt, come a completely American expression until the white
Otis Shackleford, Sutton Griggs, and Pauline Hopkins man could play it! extquotedbl[4] Baraka then goes on
demonstrated the idea of social classes within the black to chart the historical development of Armstrong’s music
race in literature, similar to that of the “novel of their as it became influenced by his performances and record-
models”, the white middle class. The separation created ings with the Hot Five. He notes that though previous
within the group gave a voice to the house servant. As jazz bands were focused on an aesthetic based on a flexi-
the country became more liberal, in the early twenties, ble group improvisation, Armstrong’s presence in the Hot
Negroes were becoming the predominant urban popula- Five changed the dynamic of play and composition. In-
tion in the North, and there was the emergence of the stead of a cohesive “communal” unit, the other members
“New Negro”. This was the catalyst for the beginning followed Armstrong’s lead and therefore, he claims, the
of the extquotedblNegro Renaissance extquotedbl. The music made by the Hot Five became “Louis Armstrong’s
Negro middle-class mindset changed from the idea of music”.[5]
separation, which was the “slave mentality”, into “race
pride” and “race consciousness”, and that Negroes de- Baraka goes on to write about the rise of the Solo jazz
serve equality. The “Harlem School” of writers strived to artist and specifically Armstrong’s influence on the ten-
glorify black America as real a production force, compa- dencies and styles of Jazz bands all over. His 'brass mu-
rable to white America. These writers included Carl Van sic' was the predecessor to the reed instrument music that
Vechten, author of the novel Nigger Heaven. Since the would follow. He writes about the bands playing in the
Emancipation, the black man’s adaptation to American 1920s and '30s and how the biggest and best of them
life had been based on a growing and developing under- were run and organized by predominately college edu-
stand of the white man’s mind. In the book, Baraka illus- cated black men. These men worked for years to grow the
trates the growing separation, in New Orleans between music and integrate new waves of style as much as they
the Creoles, gens de couleur, and mulattoes. This sep- could without sacrificing the elements that were so im-
aration was encouraged as a way to emulate the white portant to the identity of the music. Furthermore, Baraka
French culture of New Orleans. Repressive segregation writes about Duke Ellington's influence being similar in
laws forced the “light people” into relationships with the magnitude to Armstrong’s but in a different way. He sees
black culture and this began the merging of black rhyth- Ellington as perfecting the “orchestral” version of an ex-
mic and vocal tradition with European dance and march pressive big-band unit, while maintaining its jazz roots.
music. The first jazzmen were from the white Creole tra- After this, much of the white middle-class culture
dition and also the darker blues tradition. The music was adopted a taste for this new big band music that had
the first fully developed American experience of “classic” the attitude and authenticity of the older black music
blues. but was modified, in part, to suit the modern symphony-
In the second half of chapter 10, Baraka breaks down going listener. This started transforming into the well-
the similarities and differences between two jazz stars: known Swing music. When there became a market for
Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. “The incredi- this particular taste, white bands started trying to appro-
ble irony of the situation was that both stood in similar priate the style for the sake of performance and reaching
places in the superstructure of American society: Bei- broader audiences (a testament to the growing influence
derbecke, because of the isolation any deviation from and significance of the Negro music movement). Unfor-
mass culture imposed upon its bearer; and Armstrong, tunately, Baraka points out, with the explosion in pop-
because of the socio-historical estrangement of the Ne- ularity, the industry for recording and producing music

of this kind became somewhat monopolized by wealthy cial use. Through this evolution of Blues into Jazz and
white record labels and producers, and there ended up be- this idea that Jazz could be more socially diverse and ap-
ing widespread discrimination against black performers, peal to a broader range of Americans, Blues started to
even after the label would pay good money for the orig- become less appreciated while Jazz represented the “true
inal score written by someone else. This discrimination expression of an American which could be celebrated”.
was evident too in the subsequent alienation of many Ne- Copying the oppressive ideas that segregated the people
gro listeners, who became turned off by the appropriation between white and black Blues was devalued and the as-
and new mainstream success of what they felt and saw as similation of both African Americans and their music
their own music. into being considered “American culture” was next to im-
possible. As years went on there was a neglect to see that
the more popular mainstream sounds of swing and Jazz
1.11 The Blues Continuum and “white people’s” wartime entertainment was a result
from the black-American tradition, Blues created by the
Large jazz bands had begun to replace traditional blues, very people that America was trying so hard to oppress.
which had begun to move to the underground music In efforts to try to re-create their own sound once more
scene. South-western “shouting” blues singers developed and create their own culture of music, they began with
into a style called rhythm and blues, which was largely their roots of Blues and evolved their sounds of the past
huge rhythm units smashing away behind screaming blues into a new sound called bebop.
singers. The performance of the artists became just as
important as the performance of the songs. Rhythm
and blues, despite its growth in popularity, remained a 2 References
“Black” form of music that had not yet reached the level
of commercialism where it would be popular in the White [1] New York: William Morrow & Company, 1963. ISBN
community. The more instrumental Rhythm and Blues 0-688-18474-X
use of large instruments complemented the traditional
vocal style of classic blues. It however differed from tra- [2] Baraka, Amiri (1999). Blues People: Negro Music in
ditional blues by having more erratic,louder percussion White America. Harper Perennial. p. 123. ISBN 978-
and brass sections to accompany the increased volume of 0688184742.
the vocals. Rhythm and Blues had developed into a style [3] Baraka (1999). Blues People. p. 154.
that integrated mainstream without being mainstream.
With its rebellious style, Rhythm and Blues contrasted [4] Baraka (1999). Blues People. p. 155.
the mainstream “soft” nature of Swing with its loud per-
[5] Baraka (1999). Blues People. p. 156.
cussion and brass sections, and because of its distinctive
style remained a predominantly “Black” form of music
that catered to an African-American audience. There
was divide however between the middle class of African
Americans, who had settled upon mainstream swing and
the lower class, who still had a taste for traditional coun-
try blues. Over time, the mainstream sounds of swing
became embedded so far into Rhythm and Blues that it
became indistinguishable from its country blues roots and
into a commercialized style.

1.12 The Modern Scene

As white Americans adopted styles of Blues and adopted

this new expression of music, Jazz became the more ac-
cepted “American” music, which related to a broader au-
dience and could also have been accepted for commer-

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